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British MP under investigation after Fiji sting

June 1, 2013

Conservative MP: Patrick Mercer. pic The Telegraph

A British MP has resigned after claims he took money to lobby on behalf of the Fiji military dictatorship.

Conservative Party MP Patrick Mercer has been exposed  by BBC Panomarama and the newspaper, The Telegraph, as having submitted parlimentary questions on Fiji – on the promise of cash.

The undercover investigation found that Mercer, a former shadow minister, tabled five questions to Government ministers and put down a parliamentary motion after being paid £4,000 as part of a contract he believed would earn him £24,000 a year.

The secret recording shows Mercer agreeing with an undercover reporter, posing as a parliamentary campaigner, to table an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for the return of Fiji to the Commonwealth.

In the video the journalist passes him a document showing the proposed wording for the motion.

It read: “This House recognises that the government of Fiji is making all reasonable efforts to restore democracy and feels that in the light of the ongoing hardship being endured by its businesses there is no justification for Fiji’s continued suspension from the Commonwealth and therefore urges this Government to arrange a ministerial visit in order to help prepare for and assist its readmission”.

“Can we get that in before the recess [the parliamentary Easter break]?” the reporter asks.

“Yes, course we can,” replied Mercer. “I’ll get that sorted out and we’ll start getting that signed up.”

Mercer, a former army officer, was sacked from the Tory front bench in March 2007 after he suggested in an interview that being called a “black bastard” was a normal part of life in the armed forces. He added that he had met a lot of “idle and useless” ethnic minority soldiers.

In a statement regarding the video and the proposed Fiji motion, he said: “Panorama are planning to broadcast a programme alleging that I have broken Parliamentary rules.
“I am taking legal advice about these allegations – and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

“In the meantime, to save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative whip and have so informed Sir George Young. I have also decided not to stand at the next general election.”

Source – Herald Sun; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM
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